Berlin Marathon, memories over miles.
When I entered the Berlin Marathon last year, it was my big goal race. It was the race I was finally going to go sub 3.15. There was no question in my mind, I was going to do it, whatever it took.
What I hadn’t taken into account though, was the bulk of hard miles were smack bang in the middle of the 6 weeks summer holidays. Now as a working mum of a 7 year old, this was a logistical nightmare and I had some decisions to make.
This summer was glorious, eternal blue skies and sunshine, a rarity here in the UK and my son is at an age when he still wants to spend time with his mum. I had to think about what I would regret more in years to come. Missing precious time with my son or a marathon PB. It really was no contest.
So I chose camping under the stars toasting marshmallows, picnics on the beach, BBQs and ice creams, boats trips and games of cricket. I still ran several times a week, but not the desired volume or intensity. My speed was fading but my heart was full.
Friends kept telling me that I would still pull a PB out of the bag on the day, but I knew that wouldn’t happen. The marathon is a cruel mistress, she knows. She knows about every missed session, she knows when you’ve taken it too easy. She knows you went on holiday and ate too much gelato and drank too much beer and didn’t run at all. You can’t hide in those 26.2 miles, you get out exactly what you put in.
So I lined up in Berlin with 3 new secret goals.
Gold. Sub 3.45
Silver. Sub 4.00
Bronze. Finish happy
I had no real plan, just run to feel and ENJOY.
The first 3 miles were so congested, it kept me nice and steady.
At mile 3, I saw a friend, Jon. I knew he would be aiming for a time I would be more than happy with, I knew he’d have a better plan than my “wing it” strategy, so I clung on to him.
I stealthily, or so I thought, tailed him until mile 10, when I lost him at a water station. Following Jon’s footsteps, had made the last 7 miles pass by so quickly.
Miles 10-15 went by with no issues, I felt comfortable and was on for a 3.35 finish. My legs felt good and I felt like I could run this pace forever.
Famous last thoughts. Mile 15, the pain started, first my hips, then my knees, then my feet. At first I panicked a little, then I slowed my pace and the pain subsided. I could see my first goal slipping away and started to concentrate on finishing in sub 4.
I broke the remainder of the race down into 5k chunks and looked no further than finishing each 5k.
Before I knew it I turned the corner and the Brandenburg Gate was in sight. Less than half a mile to go. I finished in 3.56 with a big smile on my face.
I started the summer making memories with my son and finished it crossing the line at my 19th Marathon.
Maybe it wasn’t the race I originally planned for, but I have no regrets.